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- Posted:Monday, July 18, 2016
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Six steps to becoming location-independent
Holly Ashby is a writer and illustrator who graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts from Liverpool John Moores University. She is interested in well-being, culture and travel, in particular the potential of new technology to facilitate nomadic lifestyles. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Even for the most committed travellers, it’s often taken for granted that one day they’ll have to settle down. However, does this always have to be the case? An intrepid band of itchy-footed wanderers are committing themselves to what’s known as ‘location independence’. This is a lifestyle where they get to travel on a permanent basis by working remotely, and it’s a perfect way to avoid the post-holiday blues! The Internet, already brilliant in ways beyond measure, has done us the huge favour of making remote working ever-more possible. With hundreds of jobs out there that no longer tie you to the office, gone are the days when setting off to see the world meant sacrificing your place on the career ladder. Instead, you can take your work with you, earning money with nothing more than a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection as you explore the globe. Sounds like something you’d like? Here’s the steps you can take to transform your vacations into everyday life.
CHANGE YOUR OUTLOOK
You love to travel… but it’s something separate from what you consider your ‘real life’. Whether it’s a week soaking up the sun or six months backpacking around Asia, eventually you come home to your normal routine, counting down the days to your next big adventure. With location independence, your whole life is the adventure, and seeing wanderlust as the norm rather than an occasional treat is the first step in making location independence work for you.
ASSESS YOUR LOCATION-INDEPENDENT EARNING POTENTIAL
Whether you’ll be able to earn a living as a location-independent individual will mostly depend on your skills, employment situation and ability to adapt. If your job can be conducted remotely, see if you can convince your employer to allow you to do so—this may mean reassuring your boss that this decision will actually improve the company. There’s also the option of going freelance and working under your own terms, something that most location independent individuals choose to do. Creating what’s known as a ‘passive income’ through ecommerce sites (although this will take more work than the word ‘passive’ suggests- if only it were that easy!), being a TEFL teacher or starting your own business are other options. With some creative thinking, there’s an amazing amount of opportunities out there.
WORK OUT WHERE YOU'LL STAY WHILE YOU'RE ON THE MOVE
As far as getting a roof over your head goes, what you choose will entirely depend on how location independence will work for you. Hopping between hostels as you explore the world will always be a popular option, especially as it’s in the spirit of the first backpackers who, it could be argued, came up with the whole idea in the first place. On the other hand, millennials will soon become the largest segment of consumers in the luxury market, so services have emerged that cater to the location independent at the top end of the market. For more long-term stays, you can use co-working spaces for both formal and informal help in finding accommodation, such as Bali’s Hubud collaborative space.
THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT THE PRACTICALITIES
When you picture yourself snapping selfies on tropical beaches or trekking through magical cloud forests, location independence can seem like living the dream. This will be true in the moments when the joy of travel really shines through, but the mundane details of life—in the form of tax, bureaucracy and other everyday considerations—are going to follow you wherever you go. This is especially pertinent if you aren’t independently wealthy or backed by considerable savings, and will need to earn a living on the move. Questions like, ‘how will I structure my business as a freelancer?’ and ‘will I need a work visa?’ are annoying but unavoidable. Sort them out quickly and you’ll soon be getting on with the far more important business of enjoying yourself.
DECIDE HOW OFTEN YOU'LL VISIT HOME
One of the apparent compromises of location independence is that you’ll be seeing your nearest and dearest a lot less than you may be used to. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Location independence goes hand-in-hand with flexibility and freedom, so like everything else in becoming location independent, how you organise it is up to you. Perhaps you want to dive into adventure and are happy to Skype your family whenever you can; maybe you’ll spend month-long stretches back at home catching up; or maybe you’ll stick to the places close to home for exploring. Location independence is what you make of it, and there’s no reason to follow a set formula when you can create a life that works for you.
TAKE THE PLUNGE!
The biggest step towards becoming location independent is, quite simply, going for it. It’s understandable that with such a huge life change that you’ll want to plan, prepare and make sure that it’s absolutely what you want. But without stepping on the plane and actually setting off, it’s never going to happen. Plunging into a lifestyle like this will take some bravery, but you may just find the wanderlust life you dream about.